TIME OUT with Joe Flanagan

Time To Tee It Up & Go Deep

For all you who are Nebraskans to the core and bleed Big Red … for those who believe the first Saturday of September is a holiday that has nothing to do with Labor Day … for everyone who already has their favorite Husker shirt washed, ironed and ready to wear … this week’s for you!
That’s right, it’s game week. Finally!
Lift a glass of your favorite beverage high in salute and let’s all toast the beginning of another Nebraska football season.
Ah, but this is not just “another” season. It’s NU’s initial campaign in the Big Ten.
Nebraska’s B1G debut under the lights in Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium. Welcoming the Ohio State to Lincoln. A trip to “The Big House” at Michigan. The start of the ‘Heroes Game’ series vs. Iowa.
Of course, those historic milestones are still a few weeks away – there’s some non-conference business to deal with first. Which means, once again, marching bands, tailgate aromas, Big Red balloons … and Tennessee/Chattanooga?
Normally, a game against the Mocs wouldn’t do much to quicken the pulse. It would merely be another dress rehearsal, a chance to scratch the football itch after a long off-season, a contest to watch for three quarters, then depart for post-game festivities with a blowout in our back pocket.
But there’s a little more than usual involved in this mismatch of an opener … an air of mystery and anticipation. Husker fans are anxious for … the unveiling of a shiny new Husker offense under the direction of first-year coordinator Tim Beck.
What exactly are we going to see? Coach Bo Pelini and Beck have tried to shroud this secret more tightly than a red file in the Pentagon. There’s been whispers of a fast-break, no-huddle pace … hints of a return to option football … and the possibility of regularly using, gasp, a fullback!
But even NU players haven’t let the proverbial cat out of the bag during fall camp.
So, yes, Husker fan, you have questions …
Is Taylor Martinez healthy, stealthy and wise with a roller-coaster freshman season under his belt?
Are the three Big Red blurs – aka highly-hyped freshmen RBs Braylon Heard, Aaron Green and Ameer Abdullah – ready for prime time?
Is a true freshman, Tyler Moore, really going to start in the offensive line?
Can fleet-of-foot young receivers Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner put the “big play” back in Nebraska’s playbook?
Have Beck and OL Coach Barney Cotton really borrowed the knowledge and schemes of Husker legends Tom Osborne and Milt Tenopir?
My oh my, questions indeed.
How many answers will we get Saturday as the 2011 season kicks off? Some, surely. Not all, definitely.
However, after a looooong off-season with the taste of disappointment lingering, we’ll take any morsel we can get.
Time to feast on Husker football!

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